E-cigarette awareness and perceived harmfulness: Prevalence and associations with smoking-cessation outcomes

Andy S.L. Tan, Cabral A. Bigman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are increasingly advertised as replacements for regular cigarettes or cessation aids for smokers. Purpose To describe the prevalence and correlates of e-cigarette awareness and perceived harmfulness among U.S. adults and analyze whether these variables are associated with smokers' past-year quit attempts and intention to quit. Methods Data were obtained from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 4 Cycle 2), conducted from October 2012 to January 2013. Data analyses were performed from June to August 2013. Results Overall, 77% of respondents were aware of e-cigarettes. Of these, 51% believed e-cigarettes were less harmful than cigarettes. Younger, white (compared with Hispanic), more educated respondents and current or former smokers (compared with non-smokers) were more likely to be aware of e-cigarettes. Among those who were aware of e-cigarettes, younger, more educated respondents and current smokers (compared with former and non-smokers) were more likely to believe that e-cigarettes were less harmful. Awareness and perceived harm were not associated with smokers' past year quit attempts or intention to quit. Conclusions Overall e-cigarette awareness increased whereas the proportion of smokers who perceived less harm of e-cigarettes declined compared with earlier surveys. However, awareness and perceived harm of e-cigarettes did not show evidence of promoting smoking cessation at the population level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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